Twitter users hit back at ‘Desolate’ Northumberland Comments

Northumbrian locals and visitors alike have taken to social networking site Twitter to blast comments made by Tory peer George Howell in Parliament yesterday.

Lord Howell branded the North-East as ‘desolate’, implying that there were no ‘beautiful areas’, in his bid to concentrate fracking away from the South. Fracking is the process of hydraulic fracturing of rock by injecting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals so that energy sources such as gas, petroleum and brine can be extracted.

Lord Howell may refer to the North as ‘desolate’ but we prefer the terms ‘spectacular’, ‘stunning’, and ‘tranquil’. Thousands seem to agree if social media reactions are anything to go by as the twittersphere is buzzing with indignant comments and images showing the beauty and tranquillity of Northumberland.

Lord Howell’s comments come despite Northumberland’s Kielder Water & Forest Park being officially recognised as the best tourism experience in the country after winning the prestigious gold honour at the VisitEngland 2013 Awards for Excellence held in May.

Twitter users posted tongue-in-cheek comments about how “desolate” the county is, accompanied by images of beautiful coastal and rural areas. Among them, a message from Visit England that read “What's Lord Howell on about?! Share your pictures of the beauty and tranquillity of @VisitNland #Nlandbeauty”.

The Daily Telegraph today sported the front page headline “Tory Advisor backs fracking in ‘desolate’ North East” juxtaposed by a striking image of Bamburgh Castle under a clear sky with sparkling turquoise waves lapping the shore. The caption reads “Rugged and Inspiring: Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland in the North East. The Archbishop of Canterbury defended the region yesterday after comments by the Tory peer Lord Howell.” There are now concerns among the Conservative party that the Tory’s may have lost the support of voters in the North.

Kate Priestley, chair of Northumberland Tourism has been delighted by the support shown to England’s most Northerly County. She said, “They say no publicity is bad publicity, and I hope the negative comments made by Lord Howell will result in a great many more people discussing exactly how spectacular Northumberland’s landscapes really are. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Northumberland get to enjoy walks on beautiful, deserted beaches or through spectacular countryside with only the thriving wildlife for company. We hope that more people will now be able to share these experiences.”

John Riddle, Chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority echoed these views, saying: “A third of Northumberland has protected landscape, making it one of the most beautiful and treasured places in the country.

“Far from being desolate, people love Northumberland National Park because it’s the least populated park in the country. Both residents and visitors alike value its sense of tranquillity, dark skies, breathtaking views and rare species of flora and fauna.”

Boasting miles of coastline and countryside recognised as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; an abundance of ancient castles and a wealth of fresh and tasty local produce; we think many would agree that Northumberland is far from desolate. Share your pictures and comments with us via Facebook, Twitter, using #nlandbeauty and Pinterest.


Notes to Editors:

Kielder Water & Forest Park was voted ‘Best Tourism Experience’ in the recent VisitEngland tourism awards 2013.

Northumberland Tourism is the official destination-marketing organisation for Northumberland.

Northumberland Tourism is the voice of tourism in Northumberland working with businesses and public agencies to achieve the vision for Northumberland, to promote the area and ensure visitors have the best possible experience.

Tel: 01670 794520
Fax: 01670 794529

Northumberland Tourism
Suites 101/103
Longhirst Business Centre
Longhirst Hall
NE61 3LL